The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

Jo Nesbo is one of those authors who I'm familiar with, but wish I would read more of. I can't begin to tell you how many of my book blogging buddies have read and enjoyed Nesbo's novels. Beyond reading The Redbreast long before I started my blog and recently tackling a Shakespeare retelling in Macbeth, I've never read through any of his other books. During a backpacking trip through Europe last year I bought a couple copies of Nesbo's books in Sweden. And so finally, after years of hearing great things about his books, I've picked up The Snowman.

Harry Hole is the hero of this series. As an investigator for the Oslo Police, Hole has an infamous reputation for finding serial killers. Recently, his life has taken a dark turn. His long time partner has left him and has started seeing another man. The end of this relationship has also strained his relationship with her son. Harry has turned to alcohol to soothe his pain, a habit that is increasingly inhibiting his ability to do his job. Worst of all, his colleagues at the police department are beginning to question his role within their unit.

A make or break moment arrives in the form of the disappearance of a local woman. Her young son is left at home alone. Even more strange, someone has built a snowman adorned in the missing mother's scarf. Harry and his new partner are assigned to the case. As the pair dig into the circumstances surrounding the woman's disappearance, the uncover a pattern of similar missing women throughout the years. When Harry receives the taunting letter from the person behind the vanishing women, there is no denying that a serial killer has emerged. Harry will have to overcome his own personal demons to find and stop this mysterious snowman from striking again.

Nesbo's series has seen a rather unconventional publication in the US. Translated into english, the novels have been released out of chronological order. As such, I don't think it is required that you read the series in order. The Snowman is the seventh in the series, and Nesbo does an adequate job of filling in the gaps of the past so that I never felt lost while reading it. Everything about this novel, from the characters to the disturbing details of the crimes, is dark. Nesbo compliments this darkness with a brisk and transactional prose. Harry Hole is a far cry from the usual heroes in detective fiction, but he is endearing in spite of his grim demeanor. With an ever present suspense, shocking twists and revelations, and an extremely satisfying ending, I can see why many readers have called The Snowman one of Nesbo's best.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.

(2018, 22)

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4 Responses to “The Snowman by Jo Nesbo”

  1. I've never known anything about this author other than seeing their books around, so I was under the misconception that Jo Nesbo was female! I don't know why but your review brought me up to speed about my mistaken assumption. It's also intriguing that his books were translated out of order. I wonder how they chose to do this, or how that came to be? I learned a lot through reading this review!

    1. That’s funny...he is definitely a guy! I think they translated based off of the reception of his series. From the reviews I’ve read, his earlier books aren’t as popular.

  2. Since NetFlix I have a real appreciation for Scandanavian countries wonderful mysteries.
    I really like a well told serial killer book as well. I have heard of this author but haven't tried him. After reading this, he is a maybe someday for me. Wonder if there is a movie?

    1. There is a movie version of this one, but it got pretty terrible reviews and the director disowned it lol


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